THE SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF POMPEII
For every Christian traveling in this area, a visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii is a must. Its history is linked to Blessed Bartolo Longo, its founder, and to the Countess Marianna de Fusco, a couple dedicated to serving those most in need.
The sanctuary was built in 1876 thanks to the spontaneous offers of the Christian from all over the world. The professor Antonio Cua was the first architect who directed the construction works for free. Giovanni Rispoli later dealt with the decoration and the monumental facade inaugurated in 1901. On May 4th of the same year, the Sanctuary was elevated to a major papal basilica by Pope Leo XIII. At that time it was a Latin cross church, a single nave with an apse, a dome, four side chapels and two chapels on the cruise. In 1925 the construction of the 88 meters high bell tower was completed and equipped with eight bells made with bronze obtained from the fusion of 100 quintals of war cannons.
Over time and the significant increase in the number of believers, it was necessary to enlarge the Sanctuary: the works were executed from 1934 to 1939 following the design by Monsignor Spirito Maria Chiappetta.
Even today, his great fame is due to the presence of the painting of Our Lady of Rosary, bought by Bartolo Longo and arrived in Pompeii in 1875. According to tradition, the painting would have been transported on a cart for manure, wrapped in a rough blanket, and since then he would not have stopped giving graces and miraculous gifts to his faithful.
Today, the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Pompeii, with the dignity of a papal basilica, cathedral of the territorial prelature and seat of the pontifical delegation, is one of the most important and visited Marian shrines in Italy.
Many personalities and Saints have visited here including St. Luigi Guanella, St. Giuseppe Moscati, St. Leonardo Murialdo, even St. Pio da Pietrelcina. Among the popes who visited the shrine are St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis